Cantonal initiative “Basic rights for primates”

Primates are renowned for their large brains, their complex social structures and their high capacity to suffer both physically and mentally. We humans also belong to the order of primates and are close relatives of more than three hundred further primate species. Sadly, current animal protection legislation barely takes into account the interests of non-human primates.

Primates are used for entertainment and research, but they have no means of self-determination and cannot defend themselves against attacks against their lifestyles. This is why we are demanding that the basic rights to life and to the mental and physical integrity of non-human primates should be incorporated in the cantonal constitution of Basel-Stadt. A vote is anticipated in February 2022.

Our arguments

  • There is no question that non-human primates are highly sentient living beings. They are closely related to us genetically and, like us, have a highly developed central nervous system. By incorporating the protection of non-human primates into the constitution, we will be preventing a great deal of suffering – both now and in the future.
  • This initiative is not simply an opportunity for Basel as a flagship canton and for the approximately 150 primates living within the boundaries of the canton, but more generally for animal and environmental policy as a whole in other regions of Switzerland and throughout the world.
  • By adopting the initiative, the right to life and integrity would be embedded in the catalogue of basic rights. This would effectively end the violation of the most fundamental interests of primates.


Tamina Graber
Tamina Graber
Campaign Manager Primate Initiative
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